The aft fuselage, designed for a Conventional Take-Off and Landing variant aircraft, will now be transported to Lockheed Martin’s final assembly facility in Fort Worth, Texas to be fitted to the rest of the aircraft.
Speaking at BAE Systems’ F-35 Lightning II facility in Samlesbury, Mr Fallon said: "The F-35 is the world's largest single defence programme and as the only major partner, the UK has played an important role from the outset.
"These fuselages, built in the North West, make up a significant amount of the manufacturing work on every aircraft, and will be supplied to all nine of the nations involved in the F-35 programme.
"That's not only a huge achievement for the British Defence industry on the world stage, but work on this cutting edge aircraft is also boosting the UK economy, supporting thousands of jobs across the country."
BAE Systems is producing each rear fuselage and vertical and horizontal tails set for the F-35 Lightning II programme, a significant proportion of the total manufacturing work on each aircraft. As well as bringing its unrivalled military aircraft expertise to the airframe, BAE Systems is also responsible for various systems on the aircraft including fuel, crew escape and life-support systems, and the integration of the aircraft on to the new Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carrier.
Jon Evans, head of F-35 Lightning II Production Delivery for BAE Systems at Samlesbury, said: “The completion of the 200th aft fuselage is a significant milestone in this important programme for the Company.
“With a potential requirement for more than 3,000 aircraft around the world, the scale of this programme is huge and is already making a significant contribution to the UK economy through the work created for 500 UK-based supply chain companies involved in the programme.”
Over the next 40 years UK industry will continue to play a vital role in the F-35 Lightning II’s global production, follow-on development and sustainment, bringing strong economic benefits to the country and sustaining thousands of jobs.
Along with manufacturing aircrafts sets for each of the three variants, BAE Systems is also responsible for carrier wing tips on the Carrier variant and Nozzle Bay Doors for the Short Take Off and Vertical Landing Variant.
Source: BAE Systems PLC (LSE: BAES.L)
Date: Jul 31, 2015